Printer Friendly

Destroying tumors in the brain.

A technique that destroys inoperable tumors or malformations in the brain is being used by physicians at the Ochsner Medical Institutions, New Orleans. Stereotactic radiosurgery utilizes small directed beams of radiation to treat areas that may be inaccessible by conventional surgery or for patients who may be unable to withstand an operation.

The one-time application also is an out-patient, or same-day, procedure and may serve as a substitute for what can be in some cases up to 20-30 radiation therapy treatments, indicates Roland Hawkins of the Radiation Oncology Department. "Using those precisely directed beams of radiation, we are able to focus on and destroy the diseased tissue and spare nearly all of the surrounding healthy tissue. This procedure shows tremendous promise in treating certain types of brain tumors and other malformations within the cranial area."

The key to stereotactic radiosurgery is determining the location of the diseased tissue and programming those coordinates into a linear accelerator--the unit that emits the radiation beams. The accelerator is rotated around the targeted area in the patient's brain, allowing high doses of radiation to be administered directly to the designated site. The procedure usually takes a full day and is performed with a local anesthetic. A computerized tomography (CT) scan is used to determine the exact coordinates of the diseased tissue within the brain. Working from that information, doctors then affix a metal ring to the head which helps the linear accelerator focus on the targeted area.

"The target of the beams--the diseased tissue--is always in the path, no matter how the linear accelerator may turn," Hawkins explains. "This delivers the highest possible dose of radiation to the targeted area while neighboring normal tissue is spared."

Stereotactic radiosurgery currently is being used for patients with various types of brain, head, and neck tumors, as well as brain tumors that have not responded to radiotherapy. It also can be utilized in the treatment of arteriovenous malformations, malformed blood vessels in the brain that can cause seizures and generally are inoperable.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Society for the Advancement of Education
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:radiation
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Feb 1, 1993
Words:335
Previous Article:"Tannable" silicone for artificial parts.
Next Article:New device cuts down on noise.
Topics:


Related Articles
Eyesight to the blind.
Computerized robot arm aids in surgery.
Precision Therapy targets tumors.
Rural telephone use could be risky.
Drug rationing blow for tumour patients.
Treatments promising long-term survival in brain tumour patients identified.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters